Chicago Closing Comments - Thursday

03/05/12 -- Soybeans: May 12 Soybeans closed at USD14.68 3/4, down 11 1/4 cents; Nov 12 Soybeans closed at USD13.67 3/4, down 1/2 cent; May 12 Soybean Meal closed at USD425.20, down USD3.30; May 12 Soybean Oil closed at 53.80, down 53 points. Funds sold an estimated 8,000 soybean contracts on the day on what appeared to be consolidation and profit-taking following recent rises and ahead of next week's USDA WASDE report. Weekly export sales of 598,000 MT of old crop and 1,134,000 MT of new crop beat expectations for combined sales of 0.9-1.4 MMT. China and "unknown" were featured buyers as per usual. The USDA also reported 232,000 MT of new crop soybean sales to China today under the daily reporting system. New crop sales have reached 328.9 million bushels so far, well ahead of the 246.9 million for the same week last year.

Corn: May 12 Corn closed at USD6.50 3/4, up 8 1/2 cents; Dec 12 Corn closed at USD5.29 1/2, down 1 1/2 cents. Weekly corn export sales of close to 3.5 MMT, whilst huge, were already largely known by the market. Tight old crop stocks versus the prospect of an early harvest and possible record production sees the old crop/new crop spread widening. The Buenos Aries Grain Exchange left their forecast for Argentine corn production unchanged at 19.8 MMT. Production prospects in Brazil are seen improving however courtesy of an increased second crop. Informa Economics are due to release updated acreage numbers tomorrow ahead of the USDA's WASDE report next week. The latter will include their first estimates on 2012/13 crop production in the US and around the globe.

Wheat: May 12 CBOT Wheat closed at USD6.08 1/4, up 1 1/4 cents; May 12 KCBT Wheat closed at USD6.20 3/4, up 2 1/2 cents; May 12 MGEX Wheat closed at USD7.43, down 1 1/2 cents. Weekly export sales of 256,700 MT old crop and 454,800 MT new crop were in line with trade expectations for combined sales of 600-850 TMT. The last day of the Kansas wheat tour concluded with an estimated record 49.1 bu/acre yield and a projected crop of 403.9 million bushels, the largest since 2003 and up 46% on the 276.5 million bushels produced last year. Kansas is the largest US wheat producing state, typically accounting for around a quarter of national production. Neighbouring Oklahoma is also said to be looking at a significantly better crop this year.